How Many of the 12 Shows Does the Average Horse Compete in at WEF?
I'm just curious about how one goes about planning their show horse's schedule while on a circuit like WEF where there are 12 shows back-to-back.
I've never done a circuit, so don't really know. I've only ever done 2 shows back to back, with several weeks break before the next set of two. Mind you, where I live there never was an option of more anyways
So I'm assuming that no horse does all 12, but would every other show be common? Or 2 shows on, one off? Would it be more or less for an Eq horse vs. a hunter vs. a 1.30m+ jumper?
I'd be interested in hearing what people have done in the past, and how they prepared for it.
We have only hunters and they're ranging from Baby Green kiddos to amateurs to professional horses and we do a 2 week on/2 week off schedule. I will say that's probably on the conservative side though - as the above poster said, most people do the 2 week on/1 week off or 3 weeks on/1 week off.
I'll also add in - we have a farm down here, but when showing we move the horses over to the show and stable them there. However - for the two week off portion of things, we move them back to the farm so they can be turned out and escape the madness and constant busyness of the show.
I did 6 weeks straight with my jumper, but we had 1) just moved him down a division 2) only took 2 warm ups jumps and 3) only did a speed class (Friday) and the classic (sunday) each week, and he got Monday and Tuesday off as well.
But my hunter was more typical 2 weeks on, 1 week off, 3 weeks on.
Then both horses got 12 hour turnout for a week and no riding when they got home!
I think a lot of people do the show two weeks, skip one. Although, I could be wrong and I am not saying this in ANY way to sound rude, snotty, or sour but I think Scott Stewart shows all 12 weeks. I do not agree with that because horses do need a break, mentally and physically. They're like humans they can't work 6-7 days a week. They need to have some fun too
Factors that go into the planning of the schedule include:
- Any special classes you plan to hit during the circuit, work a game plan backward from there (ie. Week off before, early in the week classes, vet work, or whatever else)
- Your horses mental state....some sour on the show thing fast, some need to keep going out and competing to stay level. It is up to the team to know that about them, and constantly be monitoring their horses brains as the season goes on.
- Energy levels and tendency to fatigue also vary greatly horse to horse. For some that tire easily, it may mean more weeks off, or it may mean less classes per week to keep them going more weeks.
- The goals and purpose of showing the horse. The consistent rings, footing,and (albeit crazy) environment of 12 shows in one place can be great for developing young and green horses, so when someone brings one for that purpose, they will probably try to get them in a ring as much as possible (within the restraints of the above points) for experience. On the other hand a seasoned horse brought down to be competitive, might be saved for the times when it counts (like $$$ GPs or classics).
- Budget. While it obviously has to be significant to be here, it doesn't mean that everyone is completely without limit.
- Rider schedules...with some people back and forth for work school
Sadly, for the people working, a horse's week off showing does not mean it stops eating, crapping, needing doctoring, turnout, exercise, grooming etc. Thankfully though, it's time to breathe and a much better chance of finishing before dark!
Anyway, there really is no "average horse". With about 5 or 6k doing at least some of the shows, it all depends.
Trying to qualify for Devon, PF or Indoors? Trying to qualify for Medals? Trying to qualify for the WEF Championships, either to get in classes restricted to top placing horses in the division or the overall circuit championships? These might hit more shows.
Trying to put mileage on a youngster? Most are going more conservative.
Factor in owner/rider schedual and you might get one going 4 or 5 weeks straight then going home.
Keep in mind some of these horses do NOT school much during the week with turnout and places to hack out available. Many don't jump at all until they warm up for their class. You also don't see that small show syndrom of a horse doing 15 classes in 2 days, these are specialists not relegated to showing Hunter, Jumper and Eq. So they don't work much harder then they would at home jumping twice a week, some don't work as much at WEF as they would at home...fact WEF is their home and that makes it very different.
Of course you do get some yahoos trying to get something sold or qualified after it becomes apparent it's in over it's head...but that is a minority.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.